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Composer of the Week

Igor Stravinsky

Donald Macleod surveys the life and music of Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky.

In this week’s episode, Donald explores the composer who is said, in his music, to have ushered in the 20th century: Igor Stravinsky. His name is probably still most associated with the utterly extraordinary, revolutionary evening that prompted that accolade – the premiere of The Rite of Spring in Paris on the 29th of May 1913. We’ll hear about his pivotal relationships with fellow musician Rimsky-Korsakov, his assistant Robert Craft and the impresario Sergei Diaghilev. Plus, Donald delves into some of the most formative periods in Stravinsky’s life: his creative move towards neo-classicism, the death of his wife, his lonely exile to the USA, and his experiments with serialist methods.

Music featured:
Rite of Spring
Scherzo in G minor
Pastorale
Four Etudes, Op 7, Nos 3 and 4
Symphony in E flat major (1st and 2nd movements)
Faun and Shepherdess
Scherzo Fantastique
Fireworks
The Firebird Suite
Three Movements from Petrushka
Pulcinella (Overture)
Mavra: Russian Song (arr for cello & piano)
Octet (2nd movement)
Symphony of Psalms
Concerto in E flat major ‘Dumbarton Oaks’
Tango
Ebony Concerto (1st and 2nd movements)
Scherzo a la Russe
Symphony in Three Movements
Rake’s Progress: Act I Scene 3 (excerpt)
Mass (Kyrie, Gloria)
In Memoriam Dylan Thomas
Movements for Piano and Orchestra
Agon: Act IV
The dove descending breaks the air
Canticum Sacrum

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Martin Williams for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Igor Stravinsky https://bbc.in/2WD30Vk

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2WyIB3H
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Amy Beach

Donald Macleod follows Amy Beach’s quest to create a uniquely American sound in her music.

Amy Beach was born in the 19th century and, like all women composers of her generation, she found her path to greatness strewn with obstacles. This week, Donald Macleod charts her struggle to take control of her own destiny and become one of America’s most cherished cultural figures; a composer who helped lead her nation into the mainstream of classical music. Famed conductor, Leopold Stokowski noted that her symphony was “full of real music, without any pretence or effects but just real, sincere, simple and deep music.” In her search to develop her individual voice as a composer, Donald discusses the impact of her religious beliefs, her marriage and the places which shaped her work: her first tour of Europe, and the MacDowell Colony, where she composed most of her later works.

Music featured:
Pastorale, Op 151
Romance, Op 23
Symphony in E minor, Op 32 (Gaelic) (Alla sicilana & Lento)
Evening Hymn, Op 125 No 2
From Grandmother’s Garden, Op 97
The Year’s at the Spring, Op 44 No 1
Valse Caprice, Op 4
Canticle of the Sun, Op 123
Though I take the wings of morning, Op 152
Trio for violin, cello and piano, Op 150
Ah, love, but a day, Op 44 No 2
A Prelude, Op 71 No 1
When far from her, Op 2 No 2
Come, ah come, Op 48 No 1
Nunc Dimittis, Op 8 No 1
Peace I leave with you, Op 8 No 3
Violin Sonata in A minor, Op 34
Symphony in E minor, Op 32 (Gaelic) (Allegro di molto)
Autumn Song, Op 56 No 1
Prelude Op 81
Der Totenkranz, Op 73 No 2
The Candy Lion, Op 75 No 1
Piano Concerto in C sharp minor, Op 45
On a Hill
Je demande à l’oiseau, Op 51 No 4
A Hermit Thrush at Eve, Op 92 No 1
A Hermit Thrush at Morn, Op 92 No 2
Quartet for Strings, Op 89
Ambache
Trois morceaux caractéristiques, Op 28

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Amy Beach https://bbc.in/2VEnUpL

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2VEopQF
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Handel, Messiah and Dublin

Donald Macleod tells the real story behind one of the most popular masterpieces ever composed.

In 1741 Handel packed his bags and left London for Dublin, where he spent nearly nine months writing and performing in the city. The main work that he premiered there was a new oratorio which proved to be one of the landmarks of his career. Across the week we hear the whole of Handel’s Messiah, uncover the secrets of its origins and dispel the myths that still surround it.

To begin this week’s episode, Donald and his guest Ruth Smith paint a picture of Handel’s life in London as he prepared to leave for Ireland, examining the way in which the texts and ideas of Messiah respond to the social and intellectual turbulence of the time. Next, they focus on Handel’s relationship with his extraordinary collaborator, Charles Jennens, who conceived the idea of Messiah. They discuss Handel’s arrival in Dublin and how he gathered his forces for his hotly-awaited concert series, the sensational reception of Messiah’s premiere, and the work’s long association with charity. Finally, we hear about the legacy left embedded in Messiah, and how the work has come to mean so much to generations of singers and music lovers long after the deaths of Handel and Jennens.

Music featured:
Messiah
Ode for St Cecilia’s Day (Final movement)
Israel in Egypt (excerpts)
Saul: Act I ‘How excellent Thy name’
Athalia: Part I Scene 4 ‘Gloomy tyrants, we disdain’
L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato: As steals the morn
Alexander’s Feast: Revenge, Timotheus cries
Organ Concerto Op 7 No 1 in B flat major, HWV 306
Saul: Act I Scene 5, “O Lord, whose mercies numberless”
Utrecht Te Deum, HWV 278 (movements 5 – 10)
Samson: Act I, Scene 2 ‘O first created beam!’
Samson: Act II, Scene 1 ‘Return, O God of hosts!’
Belshazzar: Act I, Scene 3

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Amelia Parker for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for George Frideric Handel https://bbc.in/2ZCZzje

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2L4ORPl
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Alban Berg

Donald Macleod surveys the life, loves and music of Alban Berg.

As a youngster, Berg loved the music of Brahms, Mahler and Richard Strauss and composed 34 songs as a teenager. Maybe this would have been the end of it, but his brother Charly secretly took some of these songs to show a music professor in the city – Arnold Schoenberg. This week’s episode begins with a look at their stimulating but often turbulent relationship. Donald tells the story of Berg’s long marriage to Viennese beauty Helene Nahowski, and the secrets beneath the surface, including Berg’s love affair with Hanna Fuchs-Robettin which permeated his compositions. We hear about how his time in army training led to physical collapse, from which he emerged to write a brutal opera – Wozzeck. Finally, Berg’s premature death from an infected insect sting, and how his wife Helene set up a shrine to his memory, forbidding the completion of Lulu, the unfinished opera he left behind.

Music featured:
Über den Bergen – Over the Mountains
Lied de Lulu from Lulu Suite
Still is where the graves are (Schattenleben)
Where the Laburnum Grows
Passacaglia (arr. Von Borries)
Piano Sonata, Op 1
String Quartet, Op 3
Vielgeliebte schone Frau
Seven Early Songs
Four Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op 5
Five Altenberg Lieder
Chamber Concerto for piano, violin and 13 wind instruments (Rondo)
Ferne Lieder – Distant Songs
Wozzeck: Act 3, Tanzt Alle
Wozzeck: Act 3, Scenes 4 and 5
Three Pieces for Orchestra
Wein, Weib und Gesang (Waltz Op 333 by Johann Strauss II, trans. Berg)
Chamber Concerto for piano, violin and 13 wind instruments (Adagio)
Lyric Suite
Der Wein
Schliesse mir die Augen beide (1907)
Schliesse mir die Augen beide (1925)
Lulu Suite: Variationen
Violin Concerto

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Rosie Boulton for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Alban Berg https://bbc.in/2GvBl2T

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2GuCc3I
via IFTTT

Joseph Haydn

Donald Macleod explores the prolific life of Joseph Haydn, with a spotlight on his masses

Joseph Haydn’s prodigious creativity earned him the titles Father of the Symphony and Father of the String Quartet. However, he was also occupied with sacred music throughout his career. This week, as Donald Macleod follows Haydn’s journey from humble choirboy to Europe’s most celebrated composer, he shines the spotlight on music from Haydn’s many settings of the Mass. It’s music that is as chock-full of invention and character as any of the instrumental forms he made his own.

In this week’s episode Donald illustrates Haydn’s generosity and sense of humour, the obstacles thrown into Haydn’s path throughout his career, the importance he placed on religion, and the effect war and turmoil had on his music. Also, the extraordinary story of how Haydn lost his head.

Music featured:
Mass in B flat major ‘Harmoniemesse’
Symphony No 94 in G major ‘Surprise’ (Andante)
Mass in B flat major ‘Theresienmesse’
String Quartet in B minor, Op 64 No 2
Organ Concerto in C major
Piano Trio No 17 in F major
Mass in G major ‘Missa Sancti Nicolai’: Agnus Dei
Stabat Mater: Sancta Mater
Mass in F major ‘Missa brevis a due soprani’
Arianna a Naxos cantata: Aria ‘Dove sei’
String Quartet in B flat major, Op 64 No 3
Mass in C major Missa in tempore belli ‘Paukenmesse’
Symphony No 100 in G major ‘Military’ (2nd movement)
Piano Trio No 39 in G major ‘Gypsy Rondo’
Die Schöpfung, Part 2:
Mass in D minor ‘Nelson Mass’
Trumpet Concerto in E flat major: movt I Allegro
Symphony No 104 in D major ‘London’: movt IV Finale: Spiritoso
Mass in B flat major ‘Schöpfungsmesse’: Kyrie and Gloria

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Eleri Llian Rees for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Joseph Haydn https://bbc.in/2UekC7R

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2Z4ymWk
via IFTTT

Francis Poulenc

Donald Macleod surveys the life and work of Francis Poulenc, a man full of contradictions

This week Donald Macleod explores five aspects of Poulenc’s personality and how they find expression in his music. ‘In Poulenc there is something of the monk and something of the rascal’ said the composer’s friend Claude Rostand – but there were other sources of inspiration that drove him. From the gregarious exploits of his youth to his serious engagement with Catholicism, from schmoozing in high society salons to the calm he sought at his country retreat and his struggles with depression, Donald surveys the life and music of a man full of contradictions.

Music featured:
Chanson à boire
Cocardes
La Dame de Monte-Carlo
Les Biches (Suite)
Chansons Gaillardes
Nocturne No 4 in C minor ‘Bal fantôme’
Concert Champêtre (1st movement)
Trois poèmes de Louise Lalanne
Tel Jour, Telle Nuit
Concerto in D minor for two pianos and orchestra
Ce doux petit visage
Chansons villageoises (excerpt)
Les Animaux modèles
Figure Humaine
Priez pour paix
Litanies à la Vierge Noire
Stabat Mater
Sonata for two pianos (3rd movement)
Dialogues des Carmélites (Act II, Scene 4)
Sonata for flute and piano (2nd movement)
Gloria
Élégie for horn and piano
Sept Répons des Ténèbres (V-VI-VII)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Megan Jones for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Francis Poulenc https://bbc.in/2CWYNE4
And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://bbc.in/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://bbc.in/2K8zFQH
via IFTTT

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber

Donald Macleod explores the music, and what little is known of the life, of Baroque master Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber.

Biber’s first appearance in the historical records is in his early 20s, when we find him in the service of Karl Liechtenstein, prince-bishop of Olomouc in central Moravia. In this week’s episode, we meet Biber as he runs an errand for his boss, but mysteriously absconds en route, trading in his old employer for a new and even more illustrious one, Prince-Archbishop Maximilian Gandolph von Küenburg. In Salzburg, Biber put down roots, married the daughter of a wealthy local businessman, fathered eleven children and gradually rose through the court ranks to become Kapellmeister. His risky career-gamble had paid off. Donald introduces us to the musical legacy the elusive composer left behind, playing Biber’s best-known work (his Mystery, or Rosary, Sonatas) as well as his music for church and stage. We also learn about his close relationships with the violin and his home of Salzburg, and the five remarkable printed collections of instrumental music that spread his name across Europe.

Music featured:
Missa Alleluia (Kyrie)
Sonata ‘La pastorella’
Battalia a 10 (Sonata di marche)
Sonata violino solo representativa
Partita VI in D (Harmonia Artificioso-Ariosa)
The Rosary Sonatas: The Five Joyful Mysteries
Passacaglia in G minor for unaccompanied violin
Vesperae longiores ac breviores, 1693
Arminio, or Chi la dura la vince (extracts)
Litaniae Sancto Josepho
Sonata No 11 in A (Sonatae tam Aris, quam Aulis servientes)
Partita No 3 in A minor (Mensa sonoris, seu Musica instrumentalis)
Sonata No 3 in F (Sonatae violino solo)
Sonata No 12 in A major (Fidicinium sacro-profanum)
Partita No 1 in D minor (Harmonia artificioso-ariosa)
Balletti a 6 (1. Sonata)
Missa Salisburgensis
Sonata a 7
Sonata Sancti Polycarpi

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber
https://ift.tt/2HYlCdD

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://ift.tt/2HXcmGH
via IFTTT

Astor Piazzolla

Donald Macleod explores the life and music of the bandoneon virtuoso and composer Astor Piazzolla, through five key locations.

All his life he fought against the tide, and in the end, he was the victor. Astor Piazzolla was a rebel with a cause. A virtuoso bandoneon player and a composer, he set out to break tango free from its roots, and make it a music with a future far beyond the dance halls and cafes of 1950s Buenos Aires. Hits like “Libertango” and collaborations with jazz giants like Gary Burton and Gerry Mulligan made his name beyond the tango world, while his classical compositions brought his instrument, the bandoneon critical acclaim in the concert hall. The secrets of musical technique came, he said, from his studies with French pedagogue, Nadia Boulanger and Argentinian composer, Alberto Ginastera but they also came from his teenage experiences in Buenos Aires, the city where had played bandoneon and arranged music for Anibal Troilo’s famous tango band.

Across the week Donald Macleod traces Astor Piazzolla’s life through the places which played an important part in his musical development: New York, Buenos Aires, Paris, Rome and the Uraguayan resort of Punta del Este.

Music featured:
Tanguedia
Tres minutos con la Realidad
Piano sonata No 1, Op 7
Sideral
Requiem para un Malandra
Adios nonino
Concierto para quinteto
Buenos Aires hora cera (Buenos Aires zero hour)
El desbande
Tiernamente
El recodo
Histoire du Tango for flute and guitar
Balada para mi muerte
Sinfonía Buenos Aires, Op 15
Otoño porteño
Two pieces for clarinet and string orchestra
Triunfal
Prepárense
Tangos, El Exilio de Gardel (excerpts from the original soundtrack)
Mumuki
Michelangelo 70
Amelitango
Maria de Buenos Aires (excerpt)
Summit
Close your eyes and listen
3 Movimientos Tanguisticos Portenos
Tristezas de un Doble A
Jeanne y Paul
Resurreccion del Angel
Concerto for bandoneon, string orchestra & percussion
Le Grand Tango
La Camorra II
Five Tango Sensations
Libertango

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Astor Piazzolla https://ift.tt/2CxTHxA

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://ift.tt/2U1AqyN
via IFTTT

Hector Berlioz

Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Hector Berlioz

Berlioz is perhaps unique among composers in having had a literary gift almost the equal of his musical one. He earned his bread-and-butter living as a writer, turning out witty and often acerbic music criticism for the influential Journal des débats and Gazette musicale among others. Donald starts this week with a look at Berlioz through his engaging, passionate and entertaining Memoirs. Next, he delves into the world of Berlioz’s literary muses – first and foremost, Virgil, Goethe and Shakespeare. We hear about Benvenuto Cellini, the opera whose “verve, impetus and brilliance” Berlioz feared he would never again equal, and his attempt to secure the coveted Prix de Rome amidst the thundering July Revolution. We also encounter some of the celebrated musicians he rubbed shoulders with – among them Liszt, Cherubini, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Wagner and Paganini.

Music featured:
Les Nuits d’été, Op 7 (Villanelle)
Overture Les Francs-Juges, Op 3
Grande Messe des Morts, Op 5 (Dies irae)
La Damnation de Faust, Op 24 (extract)
Béatrice et Bénédict (Act 1)
Zaïde, Op 19 No 1
La Damnation de Faust, Op 24 (Part 2)
Waverley, grande ouverture, Op 1
Les Troyens, Op 29 (Act 1, finale)
Marche funèbre pour la dernière scène d’Hamlet (Tristia, Op 18)
La Captive, Op 12
Harold en Italie, Op 16 (IV. Orgie des brigands)
Le carnaval romain, Op 9
Benvenuto Cellini, Op 23 (extracts)
Messe solennelle (Quoniam tu solus Sanctus)
Épisode de la vie d’un artiste – Grande Symphonie fantastique, arr. Franz Liszt
Le roi Lear, grande ouverture, Op 4
Les nuits d’été, Op 7 (Absence)
Romeo et Juliette, Op 17 (Part 3)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Hector Berlioz
https://ift.tt/2HlYnuz

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

from Composer of the Week https://ift.tt/2HkB1Wl
via IFTTT

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